Grateful: cooking and community

Last week, when I was really beginning to get the habit of capturing grateful moments with my phone camera, I photographed a pot of soup:

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My grateful moment wasn’t necessarily about the actual soup itself, though it was lovely and tasty. It was the act of preparation, of combining colors, flavors and textures, bringing them together into a glorious whole. A different grateful moment superseded the soup that day, but I still very much appreciate the fact of the photo and the act of the pot of soup coming into being.

Yesterday was our school’s First Annual Chili Cook-Off. Firsts of anything are always filled with questions, so I hesitated to sign up, but then I just did it. My family has long raved about my chili, and I looked forward to joining in with some fun.

The day came and I shopped for the fresh things, laying them out before me on the board. I had my moment of gratefulness right then, everything ready before me, time to begin.

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I don’t use a recipe. My chili starts with a list of specific ingredients which come together with the right amount of time on the heat and lots of tasting spoons.

Here’s the lovely thing. Even with my questions about whether I should enter the event, and wondering if I could work out some logistics, and knowing I could never compete against those folks who asked me what “style” my chili was, or where it came from, we all came together as a community. This was a room full of pots of chili (fifteen kinds!), condiments, and cornbread and desserts and people ready to have some fun – and man, we did!

Here’s the other lovely thing. There was some amazing chili there. I ate my fill (along with three kinds of cornbread and lots of honey butter). But my humble, unadorned, no-style, no-region, no-recipe chili, my escape into the kitchen and the flavors and the moments with the stove, came to this:

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Yup. Grateful for our community, and in addition, I won third prize.

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About vst3in

I am a writer, avid reader, library techie, birder and runner. I make felt and teach others. I love colors and textures and birds and books. I'm working on a historical novel and reading lots of books for young people. I am running to get stronger, and I sail with my husband. This blog contains thoughts about all these things.
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